Tomorrow begins the new school year for youth across the city. I remember how excited I was to see my classmates, wear my new clothes and get back into a routine. If our children are just starting school or moving to a new school, the experience can be exhilarating yet scary all at the same time. Will I like my teacher? Will the other children be nice? What about lunchtime or recess? Will I be able to make friends? This is a good moment to chat with our children about how to make good friendships.

The saying goes that to have a good friend, one has to be a good friend. Here are my suggestions for helping our children be good friends.

  • Be sociable…say Hi and introduce yourself. Rehearse some topics ahead of time to talk about, like “Where did you go for holidays? or Do you play sports/instrument?”
  • Look for someone who seems kind rather than the most popular student.
  • Find things in common that you both like to do. Begin to spend time together.
  • As the friendship deepens, don’t reveal your friend’s secrets unless they involve the possibility of harm. Then definitely let parents or teachers know.
  • Don’t be a space invader…let your friends spend time with other friends, too.
  • Don’t brag about your abilities or skills.
  • Don’t be jealous of what your friends have or their special abilities.
  • Don’t say unkind things behind your friend’s back. And don’t let someone badmouth your friend, either. Be known for your loyalty.
  • Say sorry and be sincere if you’ve hurt your friend’s feelings.

Keeping the lines of communication open with our children is important in this area. From time to time, they may need our guidance in making wise choices for friends. Watch that the friendships that develop do bring out the best in them rather than the worst. Have a wonderful school year!!!

Maria Doll, certified Style & Etiquette consultant

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